Air Traffic Controller Discussion With a Global Perspective
By Zain Khan 1345074
#507595 This has become a heated discussion point recently and I was told off due to virtually closing a entire airport online on VATSIM, but the closure of airports has 2 sides, a side where it ruins the enjoyment of VATSIM for some pilots resulting in a breach of CoR and a side where it is realistic and simulates a twist in a normal day of flying, even more useful for events.

We get, it's in breach of Article VI .03 part C, where it states it prohibits:

The use of the VATSIM.net network by any member or individual to engage in any action or conduct which blocks, interferes with or otherwise prevents any other member(s) of VATSIM.net or individuals from logging on to and/or enjoying the VATSIM.net network.


Closure of airports mean no aircraft can land or depart from that airport. Departures are gonna be held for hours and arrivals would be diverted to nearby airports. It creates a twist which people see very unusual. It also can cause frustration where pilots aren't able to do the flights they are willing to do.

However in the same time, it is a realistic approach to hazards such as emergencies, runway contamination and WIP (impossible to depict on a flight simulator so pretty much ruled out). Especially in airports with only 1 runway, without it, airport becomes inoperative. The aim of VATSIM as stated in the end of the Code of Conduct states that:

Remember, the primary goals of VATSIM are to educate, to provide a realistic simulation of flying and air traffic control and, most importantly, to provide a fun environment for everyone to enjoy our hobby.


What do we think? Good idea or bad idea?
By Ernesto Alvarez 818262
#507597 Zain why did you think you were going to get a different answer here when members of the VATGOV's have already told you no, after you had already done it, on the facebook page when you posted it. as they have already told you, and i quote, next time it will be a suspension

and btw no, you cannot close airports either during events. thats another myth thats often spread
By Ross Carlson 887155
#507598
Ernesto Alvarez 818262 wrote:and btw no, you cannot close airports either during events. thats another myth thats often spread


I have a vague memory of an event in the past where the main airport was closed and all flights were diverted to another airport. That was the point of the event ... the challenge for both pilots and controllers of having to divert. Pilots could still land at the main airport if they didn't want to participate in the event.

A similar one involved the active runway's ILS being inoperative, so all pilots were given non-precision approaches, but they could of course still fly the ILS if they wanted to since it was still operative in their sim.

Of course, with my memory not being what it used to be, I could be thinking of events that were conceived of but never actually held. :)
By Ernesto Alvarez 818262
#507602 I think i remember that one, blackout Pittsburgh? The key though was it was still optional, not a complete closure as the OP did.

Same thing with TFR's and others. The user has the option of following the TFR or not. Happens every Superbowl event especially. Still cant stop folks from going in if they dont want to follow it
By Andreas Fuchs 810809
#507607 Same as ATC trying to tell pilots that their flightplan is not valid and that they HAVE TO file and use another one. ATC can only SUGGEST doing this, but they can never enforce it. If ATC wants to re-route pilots, they need to offer radar vectors or other methods, if pilots refuse to adjust their flightplans. Same goes for "DCT GPS".
By Wygene Chong 1089621
#507610 In a similar vein, when the Bárðabunga volcano erupted in Iceland, we were coincidentally holding a monthly event on VATSIM. We closed all the airspace in south-eastern Iceland during the event, offering vectors to the pilots. Everyone enjoyed the realism, but of course if there had been someone who didn't appreciate being rerouted, we would have let them go their own way.
By Dhruv Kalra 878508
#507615
Andreas Fuchs 810809 wrote:Same as ATC trying to tell pilots that their flightplan is not valid and that they HAVE TO file and use another one. ATC can only SUGGEST doing this, but they can never enforce it. If ATC wants to re-route pilots, they need to offer radar vectors or other methods, if pilots refuse to adjust their flightplans. Same goes for "DCT GPS".

Sure, they dont HAVE TO fly a preferential route, same as controllers in turn don't HAVE TO ensure expeditious handling should they not do so. If I leave a guy on a heading for an extra 10 (or 100) miles because his inability or unwillingness to go with the flow of traffic doubles my workload, then that should consequently absolve me of my responsibility to ensure efficient handling, right?

Full disclosure: this isn't meant to imply that I'm going to deliberately penalize someone who can't fly a preferential routing. That being said, if I have to give headings to someone to align them with the flow of traffic, it's by definition going to be less efficient due to workload, timing, etc. In the real system, if ATC issues us a reroute, the only recourse we have to decline it is if it's going to compromise safety (fuel, weather, etc.).

Many pilots on the network need to wrap their heads around the concept that a filed flight plan is a proposal, not a mandate. If it needs to be changed in the in the interest of the big picture, it's likely going to benefit them in the long run.
By Josh Glottmann 1275389
#507616
Dhruv Kalra 878508 wrote:Sure, they dont HAVE TO fly a preferential route, same as controllers in turn don't HAVE TO ensure expeditious handling should they not do so. If I leave a guy on a heading for an extra 10 (or 100) miles because his inability or unwillingness to go with the flow of traffic doubles my workload, then that should consequently absolve me of my responsibility to ensure efficient handling, right?

+1
By Andreas Fuchs 810809
#507621 Well, with the low volume of traffic here at VATSIM I cannot see that we need to re-route someone if the suggested route cannot be followed. To me this rather sounds like deliberately penalizing someone for being "lazy" or "unable" to follow a better routing. I know, you also wrote that you would not do this on purpose, but someone else could, so I'd be cautious with this kind of approach to the matter.

Look, I am all for realism and for guiding fellow members to a higher level of realism. Sometimes just want to use the 60 minutes that they have left before dinner, meeting friends, picking up their partners etc. for an uncomplicated online flight. We should also have this on our minds and keep it simple if someone declares unable for the change ("sorry, no time today, please accept my routing, will do it better next time"), we do provide a service for clients - pilots are our clients. At least this is my motivation.
By Trent Hopkinson 812681
#507627
Andreas Fuchs 810809 wrote:Well, with the low volume of traffic here at VATSIM


There have been many events where Vatsim traffic well exceeded the real world airports.

WorldFlight putting more than 90 aircraft into NZQN in a 4 hour period being one example recently. Real world NZQN gets on average 25 flights PER DAY
By Andreas Fuchs 810809
#507636 Hi Trent,

sure, during special events, but not during normal operations. That was the point I was trying to make, sorry if I was not specific enough. I was stuck in the queue in Queenstown on the Hapag-Lloyd flight and almost got diverted to Dunedin :twisted:

I just want to re-iterate that here at VATSIM and other online-flying networks we are just scratching the surface, in many cases. There are some occasions when it does move more towards reality in terms of traffic-volume, but they are seldom. It is still enjoyable to fly and control at VATSIM, because it is a lot of fun once the procedures have become natural and you actually have a concept of what you are doing instead of just putting out fires everywhere :shock: 8) :mrgreen:
By Brad Littlejohn 811975
#507651
Zain Khan 1345074 wrote:This has become a heated discussion point recently and I was told off due to virtually closing a entire airport online on VATSIM, but the closure of airports has 2 sides, a side where it ruins the enjoyment of VATSIM for some pilots resulting in a breach of CoR and a side where it is realistic and simulates a twist in a normal day of flying, even more useful for events.

We get, it's in breach of Article VI .03 part C, where it states it prohibits:

The use of the VATSIM.net network by any member or individual to engage in any action or conduct which blocks, interferes with or otherwise prevents any other member(s) of VATSIM.net or individuals from logging on to and/or enjoying the VATSIM.net network.


Closure of airports mean no aircraft can land or depart from that airport. Departures are gonna be held for hours and arrivals would be diverted to nearby airports. It creates a twist which people see very unusual. It also can cause frustration where pilots aren't able to do the flights they are willing to do.


This is the issue, right here.

Closure of an airport does not mean that no aircraft may not land or depart from that airport. Closure of an airport means that the control tower is closed, and no local services are provided from that position. An airport can close, and still have aircraft arrive and depart, as it would be treated as an untowered airport.. At least that is how we roll in the US.

For example, the AWOS currently up for KVGT (North Las Vegas Airport, in Las Vegas) has the following:

North Las Vegas Tower is closed. Class Delta Services are terminated. Hours of operation are from 0600 to 2000 local time. Common Traffic Advisory Frequency and pilot-controlled field lighting frequency is 125.7. during hours of non-operation, additional information is available on Prescott Radio on frequency 122.4, or Las Vegas Approach on 125.9. North Las Vegas Tower will resume normal operations tomorrow morning at 0600 local time.


Again, while the tower is closed, that doesn't mean that the airport is closed for arrivals and departures, as the airport remains open.

Additionally, during the 2nd California Screamin' event we had at ZLA, we closed LAX Tower, as pilots pretty much interpreted that event to be just a fly-in to LAX, which it wasn't. The airport remained open, but no services were provided by the local tower at LAX, as they had 'closed'. Every other airport in our sector was available, with their towers open and operating.

BL.
By Ross Carlson 887155
#507655 Brad, you rightly point out that closing an airport and closing a tower are two different things. However, the OP is talking about closing the entire airport. One of his examples mentions a single-runway airport where the sole runway is unusable due to emergency or contamination. In that case, the airport is closed in the sense that no aircraft can land or depart.